HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - The horrific case of Ollie the pit bull in Hollywood concerned People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' activists worldwide.
When the animal rights organization received news that the pit bull had been stabbed dozens of times and stuffed into a suitcase, PETA donated $5,000 to help catch the killer.
The organization's president said a reward wasn't needed to solve Ollie's case. Hollywood Police Department detectives solved the case with the help of DNA evidence found on the suitcase. They linked it to Brendan Evans, who was arrested Wednesday.
"PETA is grateful to the Hollywood Police Department for its diligence and use of forensic science in making an arrest in the case of this dog's violent and terrifying death," said Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's president.
In sum, animal rights activists raised about $100,000 with Ollie in mind. The money was supposed to help the beloved pit bull recover, but when he died, they used some of the funds to offer a reward to help catch the attacker, and to continue their efforts to help other victims of animal cruelty in his memory.
Evans, 31, faces an aggravated animal cruelty charge. He appeared in Broward County Court Thursday, and although his bail was set at $100,000, he remained in jail Friday. While investigating another case, police officers said he had claimed to be a Voodoo priest who believed it was his religious right to kill a duck if he wanted to.
"The FBI has identified cruelty to animals as a sign of psychopathy, a red flag indicating a high risk for committing future acts of violence that pose a danger to the entire community," Newkirk said. citing evidence of the history of animal abuse linked to serial killers.
In Evans' refrigerator, Hollywood detectives found rats with their scalps removed, cat paws and blood. There was an eight-pointed star on a kitchen wall and a shrine with candles for the "Duke of Hell." He had a Crime Stoppers' flyer showing a picture of Ollie ripped in two.
"We were all pulling for Ollie to survive, but unfortunately he didn't make it," acting Chief Chris O'Brien said in a statement. "However, due to our investigation, we are no able to provide justice for Ollie."
Some animal activists recognized Evan Wednesday night. They had been searching for evidence of reports that he had been sacrificing kittens. They used social media to distribute his photo anonymously earlier this year.
Miranda Grossman, a spokeswoman for the department, said detectives searched Evans' apartment at 1935 Lee St., on Nov. 14. It was about a month after a couple spotted a dog's paw sticking out from the suitcase and called police.
Officers rushed Ollie to the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital, where veterinarians learned he had been stabbed more than 50 times. Animal lovers from all over the world pulled together to help Grateful Paws Dog and Cat Rescue to raise funds to help Ollie survive the vicious attack.
When Ollie died at the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital two days later, animal lovers were waiting for justice in the case. Linda Ream, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said Ollie remained friendly and sweet until his last day.
"When he died, there were tears," Ream said.
In a statement released Friday morning, Newkirk asked the public to report cruelty to animals and look out for animals in need "by investigating or reporting any crying and wailing or other unusual sounds coming from buildings or rooms."
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